I was roused from my slumber by an unusual sight. A bright, almost brilliant flash of light! I jumped up in bed and shaking the gauzy cobwebs from my brain, I realized what this mysterious sight was. It was the sun!! OMG it’s 7:30 AM .I panic my first class starts in 4 minutes! Then a Zen like calm engulfs me. It’s SPRING BREAK!! I have slept past sunrise! I nestle back in bed for a few more minutes before my mind starts racing with my “things to do while not doing anything list.”
Sure, I may not be in school, but that doesn’t preclude me from not working. Even scheduling “downtime” or pleasure reading must be planned. But, is this really a good thing. Am I doing myself and my students an injustice by not slowing down. By scheduling and “doing” something every minute am I draing my battery, my power supply? My major plan for break was to not get up in the dark every morning.So far so good, but am I really recharging? Do I need to? Umm, yes ! We all do.
Recently in a #BFC530 chat we discussed teacher burnout.I used the analogy of being in an airplane when the oxygen mask deploy. We must take care of ourselves before we can take care of others.How can we be effective if we can barely keep our eyes open by 6th period on Thursday.
In The dark days of the recent past ( 2 years ago) before I got my first Smartphone, I couldn’t fathom why the students always had to recharge their phones. I charged my flip phone every night and it could go for days. Then when I upgraded to my new phone I got it. The more programs that were running the more the battery drained. We are like that smartphone. Education is a tough profession. There may not be a lot of heavy lifting, but there sure is a lot of mental lifting. Lesson planning, instruction, student conferences, observations,meetings, being connected online etc. etc. This is not a poor me lament. I am OK with all of this. But we need to be at the top of our game to serve the students the best that we can. They deserve nothing less. If we are “running all of these programs” our battery will drain, and drain quickly.So how can we be competent educators? I miss my students this week. I enjoy being in the classroom, but recharging is vital to being a proficient educator. It’s not selfish to sleep till 7:30, it’s OK not to check email for a day or two. I will be grading and lesson planning later in the week, but let me get up to about 75% charged first.
In February of 2015 The National Sleep Foundation issued new sleep guidelines.
- School age children (6-13): Sleep range widened by one hour to 9-11 hours (previously it was 10-11)
- Teenagers (14-17): Sleep range widened by one hour to 8-10 hours (previously it was 8.5-9.5)
- Younger adults (18-25): Sleep range is 7-9 hours (new age category)
- Adults (26-64): Sleep range did not change and remains 7-9 hours
- Older adults (65+): Sleep range is 7-8 hours (new age category)
I understand this is not going to happen for most of us. Sleep is at a premium.Life, family and other responsibilities do get in the way.However, let’s take advantage of the recharging time when we get it.
If we truly desire to be the best we can be for ourselves and our students, there are times we need to give ourselves permission to step back. Read a fiction novel, sleep in, go off the grid for a day or two. We will be better for it in the long run, and as a result, be more abt to have the strength and sharpness to be the best educators we can be.
When I come back to my classroom next week I hope to be close to 100% charged. Hopefully the power supply will last a while longer. So with that said, I am heading off to the kitchen in my penguin PJ’s to pour another cup of coffee and read a novel ( after all it’s almost noon !!)